Viv Richards: Swagger-tinged slaughter

Viv Richards.jpg

The slightly upward tilt of the face, underlining his stamp of superiority. The three-colour Rastafarian wrist-band conspicuously adding to the effect. The eyes looking at nothing in particular but yet managing to project an air of very justified condescension. The jaws working single-mindedly on that ever-present gum, even the act of mastication somehow coming off as majestic.

Even before the devastating willow wreaked havoc and devastated oppositions, the swagger characterised the man. As he stretched, warmed up and went through the innocuous callisthenics indulged in by every other batsman, he would somehow carry the aura of overpowering menace managed by none other.

Viv Richards incredibly induced the fear in bowlers that a hostile speedster would plant in the fluttering heart of an uncertain batsman. Few batsmen in history have been as devastatingly destructive.

The numbers do tell the tale of greatness of Richards the batsman. They also say that he tailed off towards the end of the career. Yes, there have been better batsmen before and since.

Yet, the figures do not echo the thudding hearts of the spectators as he approached the crease, the quiver of the bowlers as they walked back to the mark.

Viv Richards carried an aura of invincibility as few mortal men have ever done, the superstar who virtually walks on red carpet every day in Antigua.

The King was born on March 7, 1952.

Text : Arunabha Sengupta

Illustration: Maha